Seiko 2220 - Why so little love? - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Seiko 2220 - Why so little love?

During one of my long monthly flights back home, I took the opportunity to examine in detail some of the old Seiko ads and catalogues from the early 1970s that I downloaded from here when the watches powered by my latest favourite vintage Seiko movement (2220) were still in production.



Perhaps it was due to my smoldering interest in vintage Seikos or a nagging suspicion from seeing the serialised movement plate on my 2220, but what I found did surprise me to say the least.



Before I discuss my findings, let’s put things in perspective. The Seiko 2220s were in production alongside many of the popular vintage watches today such as the 6138/9 chronographs, the 36K Lord Marvel (powered by the 5740C caliber), the Lord-matics, the Bell-matics, the 61 divers, and of course the ubiquitous 61 Grand Seikos and 56 King Seikos. Please take note that this was the start of the heyday of the quartz revolution, and many quartz pieces cost much more than their lowly perceived mechanical counterparts. Until now.

But let’s leave the quartz pieces aside for the moment and concentrate on the mechanical babes.

Thought 1

Let’s assume that the prices of vintage pieces these days are determined by the demand and supply of the market. The average Seiko 2220 can be purchased for around USD 100 usually, without box, papers nor original strap as most of the 2220s came with leather straps which would have disintegrated by now. I have paid up to USD 150 for a decent example with a rare dial design, but that’s an exception rather than the norm.



One does not need to camp out on eBay or watch forums to know that most of the other well known and popular vintage Seikos mentioned above costs at least double that of the asking price of a regular 2220. Hence I can safely conclude that the demand for 2220s are lower than that of the other vintage favourites, and/or the supply is high. However in my opinion, it is likely driven by low demand than than a high supply, for reasons I shall explain later.

Some reasons could be due to the ever-green popularity of divers, historical significance of the chronographs (first automatic chronograph and first watch in space), first Seiko movement to beat at 10bps (Suwa 5740C), etc.

However it is clear that the asking price of vintage pieces today rarely if ever corresponds to the recommended retail price of the vintage pieces when they were first released. How many of you readers actually even know the recommended retail price of your vintage loves?

Thought 2

From the watch manufacturer perspective (this is just my assumption), the retail price usually reflects the combination of the movement grade, the material used and the watch design, as the selling price is usually a certain multiple of the manufacturing price after taking into account transportation, marketing and other general costs. Some exceptions of course exist in limited edition releases where a premium is paid for a certain design quirk and limited supply.



Certainly, there might be other reasons for a manufacturer to set prices for reasons other than what I have mentioned, but within a manufacturer’s own stable of products, the pricing should generally reflect the reasons I provided earlier.

Findings

I was very surprised to find out where the 2220 stood in relation to its more famous brethren back when they were sold in the 1970s given their asking prices today compared to other vintages.

Prices stated below are as per the recommended retail prices in JPY in 1975.

Seiko 2220s (JPY 18,000 – 23,000)

Differences in prices are probably reflected in the dial design and case material used.

The price of the 2220 were also not cheap back when it was introduced and probably explained the relatively low supply of 2220s compared to the other watches that provided more complications or as I call it “bang for the buck”! Read on for prices of the more complicated Seikos released at the same time.





Seiko LordMatic Special (JPY 27,000 – 28,000)

Not surprisingly, the LordMatic Special are slightly more expensive than the 2220s. Both movements are from Daini, but the 52 is an automatic with handwinding and comes with day/date complications compared to the plainer handwinding only 2220.

The 52 caliber is also closely related to the Seiko 4S resurrected in the 1990s.



Seiko 6138/9 Chronographs (JPY 18,000 – 24,000)

These watches need no introduction! The ever popular chronographs from Seiko sells for quite a bit these days. Corresponding to their popularity and demand, it is not surprising that there are plenty of frankens/fakes around.

Note that they sells in the same range as the Seiko 2220s, but these are automatic column wheel chronographs with day and date and metal bracelets, compared to the 2220s which are handwinding only movements without a second hand and generally comes with a leather strap.



Seiko 61 divers and Worldtimer (or is it Navigator Timer? Not too familiar with them)

Not surprisingly the 61 tuna is a LOT more expensive due to its technical features, but the 6105 diver and Worldtimer is surprisingly in the same price range as the 2220s.



Seiko 5740C Lord Marvels (JPY 14,000 – 17,000)

These were Seiko’s first movements to beat at 36,000 bph at a time when 21,600 are the norm even for Swiss companies. These were also the flagship of Seiko before they introduced the King Seiko and Grand Seiko watches. Notice that the most expensive gold plated Lord Marvel sells for less than the cheapest 2220. A good tear down of the excellent 5740C movement can be found here.



Grand Seiko and King Seikos (JPY 33,000 – 110,000)

Adding in the prices of the 56 KS and 61 GS VFA for comparison. Not surprisingly, these blow all the previous watches out of the water with their price.



Conclusion

This is pretty much in line with my supposition previously that the 2220 was not a lowly run of the mill movement given that some of them had serialised movements and this exercise in examining the vintage ads and catalogues proves me right.

For example, in terms of complications, the much much simpler 2220 sells for as much as a 6138/9 chronograph and the 6117 Worldtimer, which likely implied that the difference in cost is due to the movement quality and dial work of the 2220s, offset by the cost of the chronograph case which should be pricier given the extra buttons, gaskets, steel used and for the GMT, probably the internal bezel and 24 hours hand.

Another telling example is in comparison to the Lord Marvels which sells for less despite running at a higher beat rate and having an additional seconds hand. The difference is likely due to the dial work of the 2220 again and perhaps the attention paid to the 2220 movement. I have yet to see a serialised 5740C movement.

Given that the Seiko 2220s are considered a high beat movement in its time, usually found with gorgeous dials, easy to maintain (only 2 hands), low cost (for now), and low probability of frankens/fakes, its certainly makes me wonder why it did not get more recognition from WIS.

Such is the fickleness and banality of the vintage watch collecting fraternity.

How many more vintage Seiko movement gems are out there waiting to be rediscovered?

Some pictures of my 2220s from my blog.















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Old 11-07-2015, 11:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I completely agree that it's a very nice and well designed movement, and your watch is beautiful, but the dealbreaker for me is the lack of a seconds hand. I've got some ancient digital watches without seconds, and I only wear them at home, for my work (hospital) I need a seconds hand I've got a square cased 2220 with roman numerals, it's languishing somewhere at my study in a drawer, too small and no seconds hand.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I used to have a Panerai homage that had a 6497 with no seconds so I don't really mind not having a seconds hand. Are these movements the same size as 6309/7002/7s26?


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Old 11-07-2015, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlegil View Post
I used to have a Panerai homage that had a 6497 with no seconds so I don't really mind not having a seconds hand. Are these movements the same size as 6309/7002/7s26?


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Unfortunately not. The 2220 are pretty small movements, hence they were used alongside the awesome ultrathin 68 movements in dresses watches in the 70s. Today the 68 movements are still in use, but only in Credors.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czquan View Post
Unfortunately not. The 2220 are pretty small movements, hence they were used alongside the awesome ultrathin 68 movements in dresses watches in the 70s. Today the 68 movements are still in use, but only in Credors.
I think there are several reason why such a good quality movement is passed over for the most part by a large part of the Seiko collecting community.
The number one reason I think is the size. With large cases being in style today many great watches from all manufactures are ignored for the sole reason that the case is small. In a watch collecting world where a 42mm case is considered average a 35 mm case is considered a women's watch by many collectors especially younger collectors who have no clue men"s watches use to be as small as 30 mm right up through the 60's.
The second biggest reason is the fact that sport type watches also seem to be in much greater demand than any dress style case unless it is a high end movement like a Grand Seiko or one of the very high jewel movements.
The good thing is if you enjoy them collecting them can be extremely affordable. There are so many other Seiko watches just like this model that are passed over. I myself love early Seiko quartz and the early hybrid electric models. These watches are also ignored by many collectors making adding watches to my oversized collection very easy on the wallet like the Lord Quartz 7853-7000 that I just picked up for $19.95 running and complete only needing a good cleaning and a new crystal.
Let everyone else pay huge money for yet another 6139 or 6105 while you keep picking up nice little gems for $25 bucks.

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Old 11-08-2015, 02:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Reason;
most people want auto wind mechanical watches. They don't want to have to remember and then actually wind their watch every day.
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice writing . These 2220s where designed to be thin dress watches, not like a 61 GS, which is kind of bulky.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Very impressed by the quality of your information. Went to your website and stayed there for a long time.

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Old 11-08-2015, 04:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by best_x_treme View Post
Nice writing . These 2220s where designed to be thin dress watches, not like a 61 GS, which is kind of bulky.
Image what a blast it'll be if Seiko reuses 2220 for dress Credors alongside the 6810 movements! Won't be as thin for sure, but probably a much achievable price point.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks, a very impressive and informative write up
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I found a few 2220 movements, will see how I can fit them in some watches I have lying about...
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What a great service to add this 2220 summary. Thank you.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the information and analysis.

I really like these types of posts that add to our collective knowledge and they are much more interesting than another "Check out my new 6309" posts (not that there is anything wrong with this).

I think I only have the one 2220 based watch, a 2220-0430 that matches the second example of yours.



With the smaller movement size they were able to make the cases much thinner on the edges and then have just the small center section thicker.



As you indicate these have high quality build and dials and a surprising range of styles. I think these are not as popular as others have pointed out due to the relatively small size of the case and movement.
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Last edited by akable; 11-08-2015 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for an great post!
Agree, these are nice little watches and are great on the wrist, with style and quality.
I have way to many as they cost so little, I just can resist adding one more and one more....

Here is an old post some years ago, https://www.thewatchsite.com/21-japan...io-2220-a.html

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Old 11-08-2015, 11:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuma-kun View Post
Thanks for an great post!
Agree, these are nice little watches and are great on the wrist, with style and quality.
I have way to many as they cost so little, I just can resist adding one more and one more....

Here is an old post some years ago, https://www.thewatchsite.com/21-japan...io-2220-a.html

/B.
Oh yes, I have bumped across that old thread when I was first aware of the 2220s. Pity there isn't more given how much more popular the divers and chronographs are in relation to dress watches.
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